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Posts from the ‘Meetings’ Category

TeamCamp Christmas Year 3 – 2012 Predictions

December 15, 2011

Chris Schmitt

We had a great turnout tonight with lots of new faces.

For the 3rd year in a row, here are the TeamCamp predictions for 2012:

Brad – Responsive websites that respond to either mobile or desktop applications. This will create more work for developers but will save companies money overall. Prediction 2: The Facebook IPO will make it one of the most over valued companies.

Sylvain – Prediction 1: we’ll finally see the emergence of software as a service (SAS), i.e. people will buy terminals rather than computers and run apps on the cloud. Prediction 2: Within the next 15 years there will be a total collapse of the economy worldwide and currency as we know it will cease to exist. I guess we’ll need to wait a few years to see if this will happen.

Ian – The global meltdown comes to Ottawa next year and there will be across the board cuts in the federal government (merry Christmas to you too Ian!). Ian cites cuts in DND and the elimination of the Wheat Board as leading indicators. Other indicators: the economy in general is suffering and housing pricing is 3 times higher than in the US.  However, as a result of all of this there will be a rise in entrepreneurship (ok, we feel better now, I think).

JC – The current multiplication of social networks significantly increases the signal to noise ratio which makes them, at best not as useful as they could be and at worst, very distracting. We’ll see the emergence of independent “social filters”, as opposed to the ones (built by and for the benefit of the major players) that currently dictate what gets into our news feed. This will hopefully bring better ways of reducing the social clutter while keeping it meaningful and human.  Also, Apple TV with integrated screen etc. will be launched and will be Siri enabled.

Zeeshan – Web apps will continue to proliferate despite the popularity of mobile apps. Prediction 2: Windows will launch an app store but it will not be successful.

Alain – TeamCamp will explode into a massive enterprise pumping out 100s, no 1000s, no 10,000s of new startups all over the world. And, as a result, The Code Factory will need more space. Now, the real prediction: The automobile industry will finally get with it and introduce truly innovative (and useful) technology in vehicles. Prediction 3: someone will invent a technology to make your voice sound like anyone else’s voice, an actor for example. (It sounds like you better patent that one Alain)

Christopher – Paying with your mobile phone will take off. Bitcoin will do really well.

Chris – I’m going out on a limb this year: Microsoft will start to make a comeback (gulp!).

All of our predictions started to get a little off the wall at that point. So, I guess we’ll have to see what happens next year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

– Chris


Web Analytics for Startup Ideas

November 21, 2011

Chris Schmitt

You have a startup idea. Great! Is there a market for it? Let’s find out! A promo page is a great way to find out if your idea resonates with someone in the market.

On Thursday, Dec 1st, Pascal Laliberté (@pascallaliberte) will show you how to gauge the market for a startup idea using analytics tools and a promo page.

Pascal is a Business Analyst at the University of Ottawa and maintains a blog at  The is the second time Pascal will be presenting at TeamCamp. You’ll love his enthusiasm and his passion for usability.

In this session, you’ll learn how to use analytics tools to help you widdle down to a killer promo page. You’ll learn how to track clicks to gauge user interest, how to discover your audience by learning how they got to your page and how to know which version of your promo page creates the best response.

Part 1 : Analytics tools and how to use them

We’ll look at approaches for analytics, some definitions, a round up of a few tools you can use like Google Analytics, Clicktale, Google Website Optimizer and Adwords. We’ll also get technical with a few examples of click tracking code and A/B testing tricks.

Part 2 : Group exercise

By working with one or two of your examples, we’ll figure out together the steps to get to a testable promo page. This will be a group exercise, so bring your ideas!

When: Thursday, Dec 1st, 6pm – networking, 6:15 – start

Where: The Code Factory, 234 Queen St., Ottawa, 2nd floor (ring the buzzer to take the elevator)


Start-up Launch Case Study: with Mike Matheson

September 7, 2011

Chris Schmitt

I’m pleased to announce that Mike Matheson will be speaking at TeamCamp on Thursday, September 15th.  Mike is the CEO at and is an MBA graduate from the Queen’s School of Business.‘s received some great coverage on its pilot on the Ottawa Business Journal website.

Mike will be talking about building a business around a technology idea using the launch as an example. He’ll  focus on bringing out the transferable lessons learned from the misses, fixes and successes that transformed his original idea into A Q&A session will follow the presentation.

When: Thursday, Sept. 15th at 6pm (presentation starts at 6:15 sharp)

Where: The Code Factory, 246 Queen St. West (ring the buzzer to take the elevator to the 2nd floor)

RSVP:  here


Bootstrap or Outside Funding? Who Gives a S@%t – Just Do It!

July 8, 2011

Chris Schmitt

I can’t count the number articles, posts and books I’ve read on whether you should “bootstrap” an idea into a business or whether you should seek outside funding. As with virtually everything I’ve come across over the last 2-years, the answer is: “it depends”.

Clearly, if you have a good idea and the resources – tenacity, knowledge, time, skill, a source of income (or perhaps very forgiving parents) –  you should try to bootstrap your company. On the other hand, if you lack one or more of those above attributes there are some fantastic angel investors and incubators out there that are willing to invest in your start-up, even before you get your first paying customer – usually for a substantial cut of your business (think of Angels as highly-paid consultants).

However, either way the principles of starting a business are the same no matter which direction you decide to take:

  1. You need a good idea: one that’s easy to understand and  solves a real problem (notice I didn’t say a “great” idea);
  2. You need to find your target market and validate your idea before you invest a lot of time and money into into it; and
  3. You  need to execute, i.e. build it and sign-up some customers – preferably paying customers.
The rest are all fine details. Really. Hundreds of little details that will help you to perfect your idea (i.e., “pivot“), segment and target your market, and sign up profitable customers. But it still get’s back to these three basic concepts. The further down the path you go, the better position you will be in whether you bootstrap or find an investor.
The simple truth, however, is that most people never get past step 1. It’s a lot of work and it’s even harder if you try to do it yourself. And you’ve got to push way beyond your comfort zone.
TeamCamp brings an environment that can help you execute on those 3 basic principles. You’ll meet other people just like you and you might even find yourself a co-founder.
Next TeamCamp meeting we’ll be discussing plans for the next “pivot” for TeamCamp:  a 3-step process that will help you turn your idea into start-up. But even more importantly, you’ll find a community that is both supportive and fun.
Care to join us?
Where: The Code Factory, 246 Queen St., Ottawa, 2nd floor (ring the buzzer to come up to the 2nd floor)
When: July 21st, 2011
RSVP: on Twegather – a TeamCamp product 🙂

TeamCamp PitchFest June 16th

June 9, 2011

Chris Schmitt

We haven’t had one of these is a long time: PitchFest! Bring your ideas and see what the “crowd” thinks. No need for fancy presentations or 1000 row spreadsheets. Just bring your idea.

Where: The Code Factory, 246 Queen St., Ottawa (ring the buzzer to come to the 2nd floor)

When: 6pm, June 16th, 2011 (discussion starts at 6:15 sharp)

RSVP: here

TeamCamp May 19th – Testing an Idea for Under $100

May 10, 2011

Chris Schmitt

In the immortal words of Lord Admiral Nelson, many start-ups find the best approach to launching a business is to “never mind the maneuvers, go straight at them”. But is this really the best way to approach it? In Nelson’s case I’m pretty sure he knew who his “enemies” were and realized that speed could be your best asset. But for a start-up that can be risky and expensive.

Believe me, I know how it feels when you read about that latest awesome technology and can’t wait to build that wonderful web application everyone’s going to flock to. But the reality is that your wonderful web app has to solve real burning problems if you are expecting customers to pay you for your service. The last thing you want to do is spend months building a product only to find out no one wants it.

At the next TeamCamp we’ll discuss two methods that can help you test an idea for under $100. While they’re blindingly simple, they will also force you to think through your idea before putting it out there.

If this interests you come join us at the next TeamCamp:

Where: The Code Factory, 246 Queen St., Ottawa

When: 6pm, May 19th, 2011 (talk starts at 6:15 sharp)

RSVP: here

Evaluating Niches

April 14, 2011

Chris Schmitt


Find your niche

You think you’ve got a great idea for a web application: how do you determine if there’s a sufficiently sized market for your product to make it worth your while? How do you make sure that the market segment you’re pursuing isn’t so big that you’ll either be crushed by the competition or run out of money before you make a buck? You spend time evaluating your niche, that’s how!

Last week’s TeamCamp introduced the concept of the Micropreneurship.  A “micropreneur” is a technical entrepreneur intent on stay solo that has learned how develop and market one or more profitable products. We talked about @robwalling‘s approach outlined in his book “Start Small, Stay Small” and we all agreed this was a great approach for TeamCampers.

Next week we’ll start to apply one of the principles outlined in this approach: finding a niche. For Micropreneurs niches are the name of the game. Finding the right nice to pursue will result in less investment in time and money to build a product, lower marketing costs, less competition and higher profits.

This will be a working session to explore together how to apply the approach to some of the great ideas we have twirling around in our heads.

When: Thursday, April 21st at 6PM

Where: The Code Factory, 246 Queen St., 2nd floor (ring the buzzer to take the elevator to the 2nd floor)

RVSP: here

Note: As we will be discussing ideas anyone attending this event needs to review and agree to the TeamCamp Participation Agreement

– Chris

Lean Startup or Micropreneur

April 4, 2011

Chris Schmitt

Update: Rob Walling (@robwalling) was sent me 10 copies of his book Start Small, Stay Small. The first 10 people coming to TeamCamp tonight and have RSVP’d on Twegather will get a copy!

This week we’ll be reviewing and talking about two startup methodologies: Lean Startup and Micropreneur Academy.

When: April 7th, 2011
Where: The Code Factory, 246 Queen St., Ottawa (ring the buzzer to take the elevator to the 2nd floor)
RSVP: here

The Lean Startup

The Lean Startup methodology derives its name from the lean manufacturing model. It’s about getting rid of waste. Applied to startups, the lean methodology entails developing a minimum viable product (MVP) as a fast way to discover customers, measure how they behave, and through experimentation, “pivoting” ultimately towards your customers needs.

Lean Startup is in fact a lean startup. Started as a blog, Eric Reis is a very high demand speaker, a consultant and has now published his own book.

You can view Eric Ries’ Lean Start up presentation at SxSW or if you have more time you can watch a one hour presentation in Udemy.

The Lean Startup is a trademark and service mark owned by Eric Ries.

Micropreneur Academy

The Micropreneur Academy teaches software developers how to launch a successful business using what you might call a lean methodology. A “micropreneur” is a technical entrepreneur intent on stay solo that has learned how develop and market one or more profitable products.

Rob Walling, one of the founders of the Micropreneur Academy has also written a book, “Start Small, Stay Small“. The first chapter is free and I highly recommend you download it. A lot of the points Rob makes in the opening chapter really resonated with me, particularly helping me to developer the proper mindset for a self-funded startup, understanding the need to do product marketing before building the product or prototype, how to determine of there is a market for your product. There’s a ton of practical advice here.

Which One?

If your a developer and would like to learn about starting your own company I would definitely recommend the Micropreneur Academy. First, it’ll help you understand and set your goals and offers very practical advice that you can start applying right away. I think Rob’s book is perfect for most TeamCampers.

If you’ve already had experience with a more traditional company and you want to learn about startups, and transforming your company into a more agile organization, then digging into Eric Ries Lean Startup model might be right for you. The Lean Startup methodology can be applied to any type of company, not just software companies.

Either methodologies are excellent and you won’t regret learning more about them.

– Chris

TeamCamp Hijacked by Leprechauns

March 15, 2011

Chris Schmitt

This week a pack of leprechauns pranced in and stole the pot of gold we all know as TeamCamp. Therefore, no TeamCamp this Thursday. Hopefully, TeamCamp will be returned in time for the next meeting on April 7th.  God willing, we will be having a healthy discussion surrounding the Lean Startup model. If you’re really keen and want to do some prep for this meeting I highly recommend you spend a few bucks and get the book Start Small, Stay Small by Rob Walling. Or at least download the free chapter.

In the meantime, enjoy Saint Patrick’s Day and please, don’t drink and drive.

PitchFest March 3rd 2011 at 6PM at @TheCodeFactory

February 22, 2011

Chris Schmitt

Do your ideas keep you awake at night? Do you have a great idea for a web application or an iPad app?  Are you looking for a technical or business partner who also dreams of starting their own business? Then come on down to TeamCamp Thursday March 3rd for an idea “Pitch Fest”. Pitch your idea to a friendly group of people just like you. Together, we’ll explore and collaborate with you on your idea. You’ll meet new friends and who knows, maybe you’ll meet a co-founder? Prepare to spend about 20 mins per pitch. The format is not important, just be convincing and passionate.

To participate in a PitchFest you will need to review and acknowledge the TeamCamp Participate Agreement located at:

Where: The Code Factory, 2nd floor (Ring the buzzer to come to take the elevator to the 2nd floor)

When: March 3rd, 2011 at 6pm

RSVP: Here